Married women are more than twice as happy as singletons… plus other facts from latest study

August 16, 2013

Apparently, married women are more than twice as happy as singletons, according to a study by Discovery Networks. Which means I’m in deep poo, or else I should try be happy despite what the studies say…

For the survey, 5 500 women were surveyed from across 11 countries, including South Africa, and here are the results from what’s called the SHE study (which I’m sharing because it’s Women’s Month after all, and because these stats are quite interesting, like the mom one, which states that moms who work fulltime, part-time and not at all, show roughly the same amount of happiness.

There’s an infographic at the bottom of this post for easy reading, but I’ve included some of the main points too (which come direct from the study):

Five hallmarks were identified through the research: Happiness is an Attitude; A Partner in Life; Beauty Inside and Out; It’s We, Not Me and Social Status.

In summary, the Five Hallmarks of Happiness:

  1. 1. Happiness is an attitude

– First and foremost happiness starts with a mind-set

– Feeling of control equates with happiness – 65% of women who are happy with their lives agree ‘I feel in control of my life’

– 44% have high confidence in dealing with financial matters

– Young women are under pressure to get it right first time

– 30% of 20-24 year olds agree ‘there are too many expectations of me to be perfect’

– ‘I have not achieved as much as I wanted to by my age’ – 63% of Russian women in their 20s agree, 58% in Italy and 35% in the UK

  1. 2. A partner in life

– Among women in a relationship, those who are married are happiest (46%)

– Honesty (79%) and supportiveness and loyalty (78%) ranked as the top qualities that women look for in a partner – they prioritise personality and character above material and physical assets

– Masculine stereotypes such as money (18%) and good physique (8%) don’t make the cut when it comes to the top 10 traits that women look for in a man

– In South Africa, the top three traits women look for in a man are Supportive & Loyal (88%), Honest (80%) and Good Sense of Humour (64%)

– Women married for more than 10 years (45%) can be as happy as newlyweds (45%)

  1. 3. Beauty inside and out

– Women who are happy with the way they look are happier overall – confidence and beauty form a virtuous circle for women

– That said, across every country women agree that good health is more important than good looks – 89% of women in the South Africa agree, 86% in the UK agree, 97% in Italy and 93% in Russia

– Young women are feeling under pressure to look ‘perfect’ – 30% of women in their early 20s agree, 15% of women aged 45-49

  1. 4. It’s we, not me

– Women place enormous value on their friendships and family bonds, for them it’s about giving

– Unconditional love and sense of fulfilment from raising a family is central to happiness

– Women who share the responsibility of childcare (46%) are happier than women who take it on alone (38%)

– Technology has enhanced women’s support networks, and their enjoyment of life as a result

– In Northern Europe, friends are ranked ahead of family

– The balance of importance is weighted towards family in Italy, Russia, Poland, Romania and South Africa

  1. 5. Social status

– Women need to feel valued for who they are and the role they play in society

– Women are still outnumbered by men in positions of political and financial clout

– Danish women (27%) are the least concerned about inequality in senior positions

– Women who are working full-time are twice as likely to feel very happy with their lives right now than women who are unemployed and not looking for work

– However, the levels of happiness reported by mums who are working full time (42%), part time (40%) or not working (39%) are very similar


You can join the TLC conversation on Facebook at “TLC South Africa” and follow on Twitter @DiscoverySA


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